Preserving PC(USA) Websites
In 2013, the Presbyterian Historical Society began collecting the websites of the national agencies, synods, presbyteries, and General Assemblies of the PC(USA) through the Internet Archive’s Archive-It program. The project expanded after the first year to incorporate websites documenting ecumenical and interfaith activities. Last year, 271 sites were made available on Pearl, our online archives, and Archive-It. All of these sites are ephemeral and constantly changing. It is our responsibility, as stewards of the records of the church, to preserve them before they are lost and to regularly check that we have the most recent version of each site saved. This is done by performing a web crawl on a regular schedule determined by the amount of activity on the site. A web crawl copies the coding of a Web site and preserves it monthly, quarterly, semiannually, or annually.
Thanks to extra data that we received from Archive-It’s “Pitch a Collection” contest, we are expanding our most recent Internet Archive collection on mission history. The collection began in June with the preservation of a few websites created by members of the Poethig family. With the extra data, we are able to expand the collection to preserve the online writings and photographs of current and recent mission co-workers, a part of Presbyterian history that may have otherwise been lost. The Mission History collection includes blogs, public social media pages, and videos related to their mission work, as well as mission network websites.